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By Howard Campbell

Observer senior writer—


 Etana —-

Promoting a new album or song can be a tiring experience for an artiste. Between the customary media interviews, Etana is on a demanding 38-date North American tour to push Reggae Forever, her fifth album.

The 14-song set is scheduled for release by Tad’s International Record on March 8. Its lead single, My Man, was released late last year.

Since early February, Etana has been touring the United States with Hawaiian reggae star J Boog. This evening she is scheduled to work the Higher Ground Ballroom in Burlington, Vermont.

Venue sizes vary, she told Jamaica Observer recently, from 700-seaters to capacity 1,000. Her performances range from 45 minutes to one hour, enough time to do the fan favorites and introduce songs from Reggae Forever.

Etana said her management and J Boog’s team have been discussing a dual tour for a while. Touring with the biggest reggae artiste in the Pacific has its advantages, especially when you’re pitching new music.

J Boog performs on the Welcome to Jam Rock Reggae Cruise

J Boog performs on the Welcome to Jam Rock Reggae Cruise

“J Boog has a different audience — more white, Hawaiian, Polynesian. It’s not entirely new to me because I have a lot of Hawaiian fans,” she told Observer.

Reggae Forever represents a new direction for the 33-year-old singer/songwriter. Her previous albums were distributed by VP Records, and she worked with producers Shane Brown and Clive Hunt on Better Tomorrow (2013) and I Rise(2014), respectively.


For Reggae Forever, there are different producers, including DJ Frass who guided her on My Man. He is known for producing hit songs by Vybz Kartel, Mavado and Alkaline.

“Working with Clive was great; he’s a veteran and good producer, but this time I tried to work with younger producers like Rimshot and Kirkledove because I like to mix the sounds up. That’s good because when I do a show people will have a different experience of Etana,” she explained.

It has been a different experience promoting her latest album.

Last month it was reported that she received a US$5,000 grant from the Jamaican government to support her tour, a ‘gift’ that did not go down well with many Jamaicans who believed the funds should have gone to an artiste or entertainer more in need.

The hostility may have been fueled by Etana’s pronouncement in September 2016 that she planned to vote for Donald Trump in the US presidential election. Considering Trump’s controversial remarks against minorities and immigrants, she took a lot of heat.


A Florida resident, she admits the comments were a mistake, but insists reactions to the Trump ‘endorsement’ and government grant are overblown.

“I shouldn’t have said anything at all, but when it comes to certain things, who don’t like yuh yesterday not going to like you today, no matter what yuh do,” she said.

Music industry insider Clyde McKenzie has worked with many top artistes including Beenie Man and Tanto Metro and Devonte. He thinks it is not always a good thing for artistes to step outside of their comfort zone.

Clyde McKenzie

Clyde McKenzie

“Artistes must always bear in mind that given their visibility, their comments will attract attention. They should also understand that they should be very careful how they express themselves about political campaigns, even those that are seemingly distant, as all politics is local today with the advent of social media,” he said. “If Etana achieved the objective which she intended, then she should be commended for her bravery and honesty. The tour support she has received is legitimate and I don’t see her as undeserving,” he added.

The Reggae Forever Tour, which covers New England, the East and West Coasts, the Midwest and Southern US, is scheduled to end in late May in northern California.

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